A Colorado man has pleaded not guilty to an alleged murder-for-hire plot over a financial dispute in which a Vermont man was kidnapped and shot dead.

On Thursday, Jerry Banks, 34, of Fort Garland, Colorado, denied he was responsible for the death of Gregory Davis, 49, of Danville, Vermont, whose body was found in a snowbank in nearby Barnet in 2018.

While federal prosecutors believe Banks killed Davis, he has not yet been charged with murder. However, a judge ordered Banks to remain in custody after Paul Van de Graaf and Jonathan Ophardt, assistant U.S. attorneys, expressed concerns that Banks was a safety risk.

“Someone who would kill for money would likely kill or improperly influence a witness or otherwise seek to influence the course of a trial that would result in his life in prison,” the attorneys wrote in their request for detainment.

Van de Graaf and Ophardt also noted that Banks has no ties to the Vermont community or anywhere in the country and has lived “off the grid” in the past.

Prior to his death, prosecutors believe Davis threatened to hand over information to the FBI that proved Serhat Gumrukcu, 39, co-founder of a Los Angeles-based biotechnology company, defrauded Davis in a 2015 multi-million dollar oil deal.

By 2017, Gumrukcu was working on sealing a new business deal that was later confirmed shortly after Davis’ death. As a result, Gumrukcu received a significant stake in Enochian Bioscience.

“Gumrukcu, therefore, had a strong motive to prevent Davis from reporting yet another fraud, and likely threatening the Enochian deal,” prosecutors claimed in a court filing. “At present, Serhat Gumrukcu appears to own over $100 million worth of Enochian stock.”

Prosecutors suspect Davis was kidnapped from his home in Danville, Vermont on Jan. 6, 2018, and was discovered shot to death in a snow bank the following day.

Last week, Gumrukcu was arrested and charged with conspiring to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire.

Representationl. A courtroom. 12019/Pixabay